NEW YORK — The former head of the police union has been fired over a video that shows him holding a gun on the street while walking to work.
Union leaders say the video, which was recorded by a witness, was disturbing and an act of “unacceptable, unprofessional and dangerous conduct” and that the former police chief has been disciplined for the incident.
The union has launched an investigation into the video.
The city of New York has announced it is investigating whether a video of an officer carrying a gun was recorded improperly, though it has not yet made a decision on whether to charge the officer.
A police union official said in a statement the video was recorded in February and was released “for public consumption.”
“This type of activity and the use of a firearm by the individual in question were unacceptable, unprofessionally and dangerous,” the union official wrote.
“This type, and similar actions, are not acceptable in our community and are unacceptable to all of us.”
The video, in which the officer can be seen holding a handgun in the air while walking, sparked widespread protests last year and prompted the resignation of the former chief of police.
The video sparked a wave of protests and demonstrations around the country as residents in New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis and elsewhere held demonstrations demanding that the city’s police force be brought in from the states.
The former police officer, who was not identified, was fired Monday for his role in the protests, which drew tens of thousands of people to the streets in the city.
The officer, identified in the video as William “Bill” Kavanagh, is seen with a gun in the hand, as he walks toward a group of protesters.
In the video Kavanag can be heard saying, “You don’t want to get hit in the back, man, you don’t wanna get hit.
That’s not cool.”
The officer appears to hold his arm out in front of his chest, pointing his gun in their direction.
The officers then appear to be pointing their guns toward the crowd, as they chant, “Black lives matter.”
The protester says in the footage, “Don’t worry about the cops, we got a plan, we’ll show you what’s going on!”
The video was taken by a bystander who was filming the scene.
The bystander says Kavanagher then grabs the gun and points it at the crowd.
The video was later shared widely on social media.
The officer appears in the background, and he later speaks with the protester.
The New York Police Department said in an emailed statement that the department was aware of the video and that it was “investigating the incident.”
“The video did not reflect the level of professionalism and respect that our police officers expect and deserve,” the statement said.
“As a result, we are taking the steps to discipline the officer involved.”